India brought curtains on a highly successful South Africa tour by clinching the Twenty20 series 2-1 with a comfortable seven-run win in the deciding third match at Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday. India's challenging tour had started at this very ground on January 5 and it culminated with a convincing win, which came in the absence of skipper Virat Kohli who did not play Saturday's match due to a stiff back.
hikhar Dhawan top-scored with 47 off 40 balls and put on 65 runs for the second wicket with Raina to spearheaded the Indian innings. Raina though upped the tempo immediately after coming to the crease. With a flurry of boundaries, he and Dhawan took India to 571 in the first six overs and their 50-partnership came off 37 balls. Dhawan helped India past 100 in the 12th over even as the run-rate was maintained over 8 per over. But now the visitors were looking to accelerate, evident from Dhawan's stroke play and Manish Pandey 13 efforts.
Chasing 173 for victory, South Africa opted for a new ploy and sent David Miller 24 to open the innings. They didn't get off to a great start though, with in-form Reeza Hendricks 7 skying a catch off Bhuvneshwar Kumar 224. Kumar and the returning Jasprit Bumrah 139 held things tight in their initial spells, while even Shardul Thakur 135 kept control of the scoring rate. So much so, the Proteas only managed to score 25 for one in the first six overs.
Raina picked up the wicket of Miller just before the half-way mark, as the batsman was caught slogging in the deep. The big moment came when Hardik Pandya 122 dismissed Heinrich Klaasen 7 cheaply as Kumar took a sharp catch at mid-off. Duminy then took the onus on himself and started hitting out. Axar Patel 016 was reserved for special attention and he proved expensive in the only over he bowled as Duminy scored his 11th T20I half-century off 38 balls.Duminy and Jonker 49 off 24 balls added 39 runs for the fourth wicket before Thakur snapped up the skipper to set the Proteas back further. Bumrah bowled Chris Morris 4 to further hurt the chase.
India got a flourishing start with Suresh Raina 43 off 27 balls clobbering South African bowlers but the hosts succeeded in straight-jacketing the batsmen by taking the pace off the ball as visitors settled for 172 for seven. The visitors choked South Africa with a remarkable disciplined bowling effort in Powerplay overs as they restricted the hosts to 165 for six to not only end the challenging tour on a high but also register maiden T20 series win on the South African soil.